I’ve played a lot of Ubisoft games over the years, but aside from a bit of Blood Dragon, I hadn’t gotten back to the Far Cry franchise since Far Cry 2. I remember enjoying it, and the hype around Far Cry 5 – it’s setting, it’s features, it’s controversy – reeled me in. I paid a total of $70AUD for a copy (And that was with it on discount, too), installed, and got stuck in.
And after a few hours, I kind of feel that despite my absence from the series, all the Assassin’s Creeds and Watch_Dogs have just gotten me used to how a generic Ubisoft title feels – fun, pretty-ish, but kind of missing that ‘something’ that makes a game truly great.
My journey in Far Cry 5’s rendition of the Treasure State began like everyone else’s – A chopper ride with the sheriff, a few cops, and one federal agent, to the Project of Eden cult compound. The intention: Arrest Project Eden’s leader, Joseph Seed on suspicion of kidnapping. The reality: Things go to shit very quickly. The opening sequence had a really interesting moment – You escape a burning helicopter wreckage, only to discover the game has let you out in the middle of dangerous territory. The game asks you to run, and it was genuinely exciting: I thought ‘So it begins – I gotta get out there, and start my rebellion’. And then, of course, they fuck that feeling up by guiding you to meet up with the federal agent and get into a super-scripted and annoyingly difficult car chase. Ah, always the way, isn’t it?
You get rescued by Dutch, the helpful prepper, and his pretty island serves as a little tutorial before you decide to get out into the world proper, and tackle things how you want. It’s a neat little introduction; gets you used to the game’s main mechanics well enough, and doesn’t take too long to get through.
Whilst you can go anywhere, it was suggested I start in Fall’s End – A town in Hope County’s south-west, under the rule of Joseph’s youngest brother, John Seed (The main regions being controlled by brothers John and Jacob, as well as sister Faith, who you have to get through before you can take another shot at Joseph). But on my way, I saved a man from a cougar (A surprisingly common hazard in the area), and he informed me that a place called Elk Lodge was torturing wolves. Sorry, Fall’s End – Im’ma go save some wild doggos first.
It was during my attempt to take the lodge that I first appreciated the difficulty of Far Cry 5. I usually pick the hardest difficulty when playing a game, and unlike the bullshit scripted sequence at the start, any resistance I faced here (And elsewhere since) felt fair, and challenging. Get out of cover in this game, and you will die very quickly. After a few deaths, I managed to successfully – and stealthily – take the lodge using my (Frankly OP) crossbow. Then some militia suddenly rolled in, and whilst I was aware they belonged to someone named Eli, it felt a little random. I hadn’t actually met Eli, or even seen any other resistance members, yet here they were setting up shop and that, making me think ‘Where the fuck were you five minutes ago?’.
Still, they set up a gun store as Americans tend to do, and I shopped before I left. Picked up a nice rifle, and even managed to slap a silencer on it (The customisation on this game isn’t super deep, but it’s appreciated nontheless). I talked to a potential companion-for-hire, but they were attacked by a very ungrateful wolf mid-conversation. Get used to that, by the way: You’ll often be talking to someone, then suddenly a wolf, bear or – most often – cougar will charge in and pounce on them. Kind of funny if a little annoying.
On my way to Falls End, I met a woman having a dispute with her boyfriend over leaving the area. We went off to fish together, by a bridge with a fair few cult convoys travelling past who thankfully never looked towards the river. Fishing in this game can be a nice little distraction; it’s not a deep minigame, but there’s a fair few fish varieties, and I’m always a fan of any little extras a game has. Which reminds me; I need to check out the Arcade mode.
I saw something about that in the Trailer Park – It was a poster, I think. You go around and pretend it’s Blood Dragon or something, I think? At any rate, that trailer park itself was mostly empty aside from that (emptier after a random cougar killed someone I just rescued). As I walked around the abandoned community, I thought how this game tackles establishing a world: Whilst Eden’s Cult itself is pretty generic (Think the Manson Family meets Christianity), the rest of the world has character: There’s still civilians trying to go about their lives, or flee, or just leave recorded messages for eachother in the only place that still uses answering machines (With a casette no less). There’s a lot of people, and wildlife, and wilderness that bring the world to life (though perhaps not in the absolute best graphics possible – the game’s not ugly, but I recall feeling a bit underwhelmed when first seeing it).
What does make a world feel more static though, is buildings you can’t enter just ‘because’ – I recalled reading some guy’s review that said ‘all the buildings were enterable’. Bullshit, buddy – and whilst shacks are excusable, trailers and houses are not.
It wasn’t long until I managed to rescue my first official companion, Boomer (I could have gotten a redneck at the trailer park, but he wanted me to save his truck, and I realised my compassion goes ‘animals > people > vehicles’, so I decided to keep on to Fall’s End). He’s awesome – He will clamp down on people making them easier to shoot, resurrect you within a certain time limit, he can be patted, and he even can’t get in your car for some reason. Wait, scratch that last one – That’s a bad thing (And something all animal companions share, apparently).
I decided to destroy some silos to slowly erode away John’s hold on the region (Everything you do builds a meter which will eventually lead to a face-off with that region’s leader), and soon after ran into an CIA agent keeping tabs on the area. One who offered to help, provided I help him first, and thaaaaaat sort of bothered me. I could accept that Hope County was cut off by Joseph’s actions, so it’d take a while before anyone really noticed, but…the CIA has someone here. Someone you find out they’re still in contact with despite the situation affecting others, meaning the CIA – the US government – is aware of the Project Eden rebellion, what’s happening to the people of Hope County, and is…doing nothing? Why? What purpose does letting this go on serve anyone?
I never got to find out – He told me to get in his car, before wandering an endless loop around a bush.
And that’s about as far as I’m in right now; these are first impressions over-all. And so far, I have enjoyed my experience, but am at the same time left a little wanting. Perhaps I bought into the hype around the game before its release; I mean, it sounded really interesting, both from a game play and controversy stance. But so far, the Seed family is a super-unrealistic and frankly boring religious cult, and the gameplay is no more engaging than any other Ubi title I’ve played in the last ten years.
Maybe there’ll be more discoveries to come – I mean, the game is definitely enjoyable enough to keep playing. I suggest you read Luke’s review for a more experienced take on the game.